A greeting card company hoping for a laugh used a doll meant for Muslim girls as the basis for a birthday card that depicts a headscarf-wearing little girl as a terrorist. In a pink hijab, or headscarf, and flowered dress, a doll is depicted on the card saying things like 'Pull string for message IF YOU DARE!' and 'She'll love you to death!,' insinuating that the innocent-looking Muslim is a suicide bomber.
The card appears to be based on a real doll meant for actual Muslim girls. The Aamina Muslim Doll, which speaks phrases in Arabic, is the brainchild of a mother who couldn't find dolls that resembled her daughter.
'It all started when my daughter was 2 ½ years old,' writes founder Farzana Rahman on her company website. 'I was trying to find toys that would help her to speak her mother tongue, Urdu. Failing to find anything, I embarked upon designing a talking Urdu doll myself.'
The doll, which has a male counterpart in the Yousuf doll, was the first of many products created by Rahman to celebrate Muslim and Arab culture with toys. Aamina wears a pink hijab and a dress with flowers, just like the girl on the card. That message has now been made into a joke by greeting card company NobleWorks Inc., a joke a Chicago-area Muslim rights group says plays upon hateful stereotypes.
The card was first released in 2011, but was only recently noticed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in a Chicago novelty store. 'Islamophobic generalizations and negative stereotypes often hit those who are most visibly perceived as Muslim,' wrote Ahmed Rehab CAIR's Chicago Monitor, 'and women wearing the Hijab are often the group hit the hardest.
'Many Muslim women around the world, certainly in the US, choose to wear the Hijab as a free-willed expression of modesty and self-respect. For them, it is a message that men should address their minds and not their bodies.'
NobleWorks, whose motto is 'Dare to Laugh' features an extensive line of politically-themed humor cards on its website.
On the NobleWorks website is a personal message from company owner Ron Kanfi: 'I can only imagine folks and friends, who receive or read our cards, can help but wonder as to whether laughing is the appropriate thing to do. But as our motto goes: "F**k 'em if they can't take a joke!"'
CAIR responded in kind: 'The notion that a doll, that looks like any other doll that any little girl in the world would play with, can be presented as a terrorist doll simply and only because it is a "Muslim" doll or because it has a "Muslim scarf" on its head is not what defines "funny" for a lot of people, but bigoted, ugly, idiotic, moronic, etc.'
The Muslim group said it has written an official letter to NobleWorks sharing its concern over the card they say exposes little girls 'to messaging that criminalizes their basic identity for profit.'
The card appears to have been removed from the NobleWorks website.